In early March a RIEL team spent a busy, productive week in Indonesia to progress the nascent Rehabilitating Blue Carbon Habitats (RBCH) Program.
Natasha Stacey, Lindsay Hutley and Clint Cameron firstly spent several industrious days in Bali with key team members Ben Brown (Director and Founder of Yayasan Hutan Biru- Blue Forests and Director, Mangrove Action Project- Indonesia) and Rahman Dako (Founder of Japesda, a local NGO based in Gorontalo) to workshop and refine aspects of the proposal, before being joined by RIEL Director Andrew Campbell for a series of meetings in Jakarta and Bogor.
The project team at CIFOR - From left Andrew Campbell, Rahman Dako, Ben Brown,Christine Padoch, Natasha Stacey & Lindsay Hutley
Local taxi drivers who managed to get themselves (and us) lost within Jakarta’s sprawling metropolis; extreme, prolonged traffic congestion; a severe bout of Bali Belly; a lost wallet and more time stuck in traffic congestion aside, our few days in Jakarta proved to be very important and fruitful for progressing our blue carbon initiative. A number of important meetings were held with key ministries and stakeholders including:
- The Australian Embassy (DAFF and AusAID officials).
- Ibu Ir. Cherryta Yunia from the Forest Protection and Nature Conservation division, Indonesian Government’s Ministry of Forestry.
- The Indonesian Government’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF).
- The Canadian International Development Agency.
We are developing a significant funding proposal to AusAID’s Government Partnerships for Development Program (GPFD) for the first phase of the RBCH initiative. It was crucial to meet with AusAID staff in-country, and also with senior officials from the Indonesian ministries whose support will be pivotal if this funding proposal, and the project in general, is to be successful.
Local communities engaged in mangrove rehabilitation work, Tanakeke Island
The team also travelled to the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Bogor — a long-time collaborator with RIEL and its predecessors. Lindsay Hutley and Clint Cameron gave short presentations outlining the RBCH proposal and CDU’s research into quantifying carbon storage in mangrove communities respectively, before meeting with the Acting Director of CIFOR (Dr Christine Padoch) and several senior scientists including mangrove specialist Dr Daniel Murdiyarso to discuss collaborative possibilities.
Clint Cameron and Ben Brown discussing mangrove rehabilitation in the field, Takalar, South Sulawesi
In more recent news, RIEL has accepted in-principle an offer to become an official partner under the UNEP GRID-Arendal, Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded international ‘Blue Forests Project’ (long title: To develop methodologies for carbon accounting and ecosystem services valuation in blue forests to be recognized and used by the international community and the GEF). The specific scope of our involvement will be to undertake research in analysing carbon flux in both degraded mangroves and seagrass beds in Indonesia in collaboration with MMAF. RIEL is also in discussions with UNEP GRID-Arendal to undertake additional work in ecosystem service valuation and socio-economic baseline studies related to blue carbon habitats under the Blue Forests Project. These are exciting developments and will help elevate the international profile of the RBCH Program.
Extensive tambak (fish pond) development on Tanakeke Island
For more information on blue carbon developments, including a short video of Lindsay and his team’s work in Darwin Harbour mangroves, follow the links below:
- Blue Carbon research in Darwin Harbour
- ‘Dirty Science’: Excavating the truth about mangroves and carbon, Forests News (CIFOR)
Mangroves are not the only form of blue carbon. Seagrasses and tidal salt marshes also store and sequester large amounts of carbon. Check out the Seagrass Blue Carbon Blues song on Bill Dennison's blog.
- This song was written during a seagrass workshop run by the Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (ACEAS) on Stradbroke Island in March 2013.
Summary of the RBCH Program
A short, concise summary of the RBCH Program is outlined below.
Goal: To develop and diversify sustainable livelihoods and build community and government management capacity for natural resource dependent coastal and rural communities at Tanjung Panjang, Gorontalo Province, Sulawesi.
The proposal aims to develop a model for sustainable, integrated, and collaborative coastal resource management. This will address pressing issues for Indonesia in food security, poverty alleviation, and ongoing habitat degradation, while providing a template for wider uptake and replication in other localities. This will be achieved through the following activities:
- Reviewing the existing governance, legal and policy frameworks for the management of natural resources at Tanjung Panjang and developing recommendations for management improvements (e.g. streamlining policy structures).
- Restoring disused tambak back to functioning mangrove ecosystems and training community members in rehabilitation and participatory assessment techniques
- Enhancing food security through training community members in Fish Farmer Field School methods and applying sustainable aquaculture techniques in practice (including cage culture trials).
- Measuring carbon sequestration from rehabilitated mangrove habitats and developing supplementary income streams through blue carbon credit financing.
- Demonstrating additional ecosystem service and biodiversity benefits derived from project activities.
- Identifying, developing, diversifying and improving enterprise opportunities for sustainable livelihoods reliant on natural resources as a means of assisting with poverty alleviation.
- Improving the capacity of communities (including poor, marginalised and vulnerable groups such as women and landless ethnic groups) and governments to collaboratively access, control and manage their coastal resources.